Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to murder of Amish teenager

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The man accused of killing a young Amish woman last year in Lancaster County has pleaded guilty to third degree murder. Justo Smoker was sentenced Friday to 35.5 to 71 years in prison, with an additional 17.5 years that could be added for a parole violation. The Lancaster County prosecutor said a parole board would decide the sentence for parole violation. Whatever sentence it was, it would be served first, followed by today’s sentence. A smoker also pleaded guilty to: Abduction Abuse of a corpse Tampering with evidence Possession of an instrument of crime Prosecutors said the plea deal was not a compromise and was made for the purpose of domicile. Without the deal, they said, Stoltzfoos’ body would not have been found. Prosecutors said the deal was aimed at relieving her family so they could give her a proper burial. Stoltzfoos’ parents were not in the courtroom. Family spokesman Samuel Blank said it was too difficult for them. Blank said Stoltzfoos was a caring, loving and shy young woman with a big heart for children in need of help. Family and community will never be the same again, he said. Smoker apologized to Stoltzfoos’ family. “I know Linda was a light. Because of me the world is darker. All I can say is I’m sorry,” he said. Judge David Ashford described Smoker’s actions as the height of depravity, as well as cowardly and despicable. “Justo Smoker should never again have the chance to inflict pain and bloodshed on the community,” said Ashworth. Smoker’s confession Investigators said Smoker admitted in April – 10 months after Stoltzfoos went missing on her way home from church – that he strangled and stabbed He told investigators he had initially buried Stoltzfoos at the back of Harvest Drive in Ronks, where police eventually found some of his clothes. Investigators say Smoker said he then moved Stoltzfoos’ body after realizing the original burial site was near his home in Upper Leacock Township. Smoker drew a map for police detailing where he had left it along some railroad tracks behind his former workplace in Gap. Investigators, unable to find the site or any indication of a grave, then escorted Smoker from the East Lampeter Township Police Station to the burial site and in no time Linda’s remains were recovered wrapped in a tarp and buried about 42 inches deep, ”Adams said.

The man accused of killing a young Amish woman last year in Lancaster County has pleaded guilty to third degree murder.

Justo Smoker was sentenced Friday to 35.5 to 71 years in prison, with an additional 17.5 years that could be added for a parole violation.

The Lancaster County prosecutor said a parole board would decide the sentence for parole violation. Whatever sentence it was, it would be served first, followed by today’s sentence.

The smoker also pleaded guilty to:

  • Removal
  • Abuse of a corpse
  • Alteration of evidence
  • Possession of an instrument of crime

Prosecutors said the plea deal was not a compromise and was made in order to bring Stoltzfoos home. Without the deal, they said, Stoltzfoos’ body would not have been found. Prosecutors said the deal was aimed at relieving her family so they could give her a proper burial.

Stoltzfoos’ parents were not in the courtroom. Family spokesman Samuel Blank said it was too difficult for them.

Blank said Stoltzfoos was a caring, loving and shy young woman with a big heart for children in need of help. Family and community will never be the same again, he said.

Smoker apologized to Stoltzfoos’ family.

“I know Linda was a light. Because of me the world is darker. All I can say is I’m sorry,” he said.

Judge David Ashford described Smoker’s actions as the height of depravity, as well as cowardly and despicable.

“Justo Smoker should never again have the chance to inflict pain and bloodshed on the community,” said Ashworth.

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Smoker’s confessions

Investigators said Smoker admitted in April – 10 months after Stoltzfoos went missing on her way home from church – that he strangled and stabbed her.

He told investigators he initially buried Stoltzfoos at the back of Harvest Drive in Ronks, where police eventually found some of his clothes.

Investigators say Smoker said he then moved Stoltzfoos’ body after realizing the original burial site was close to his home in Upper Leacock Township.

Smoker drew a map for the police showing where he had left it along a railroad track behind his old workplace in Gap.

Investigators, unable to find the site or any indication of a grave, then escorted Smoker from the East Lampeter Township Police Station to the burial site and in no time Linda’s remains were recovered wrapped in a tarp and buried about 42 inches deep, “Adams said.



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